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My brother...



New member
Aug 21, 2009
Hi all,

I wondered if anyone would be able to give me a bit of advice RE: my brother's behaviour. I moved back in with my mum and brother in March, and since then I've noticed him acting progressively worse, with some quite strange behaviour. He's always been known for being quite 'slow', always making silly mistakes (filling the kettle up with milk once!) and often disregarding people's feelings (inviting 10 friends over at 2am on a Tuesday for a party!), but it's always been put down to being a typical teenage. But recently there has been a whole new side to his behaviour

He's 20 and has just finished his second year at Uni and has no job. He's lost about 2 stone through not eating for a day then gorging, and sits around the house all day, smoking about 50 cigarettes a night and drinking countless cups of coffee (A good 8-9 a day). He always looks as though he is in a daze and stares past you, and quite often you have to repeat something 2 or 3 times before he hears you. Quite often he needs you to repeat it in a different context because he hasn't quite understood.

He also seems to have lost alot of his sense of reality -he missed his Uni exam the other day, and went up there - Having driven my mum's car up there without asking and without a driving license- at 8pm, thinking he could just redo it whenever he liked). Yesterday he was insistent we drove him up to Eltham in London, where he was at Uni (he hasn't lied there since he left halls in May), but he couldnt explain why he wanted us to take him there.

Quite often we will catch him just smiling to himself. The day he took my mums car I saw him walking down the road, just smiling to himself as he let himself into the house, as though he has no idea what he has just done is wrong.

Last night it all came to a head. We would be talking to him and he would just randomly say a sentence that came out of nowhere- We were talking about banks for example, and he said "well it is a tudor building", for example, and then started accusing me of giving one of our towels to my gay friends! He is off on holiday today, and my dad asked him to give his friend a call to check he was still able to come. He took one look at my dad, left the house for 15 minutes without saying a word, and came back with some skunk and a 300 DVD :cry: He plonked the DVD on the table, gave my mum the drugs saying "no hard feelings" and then went over to a cupboard, pulled out a sword and propped it against the wall, and sat back down again in silence. He could explain why he had just taken a sword out of the cupboard!

My stpemum suggested we take him up to A&E to see if we could see the psychiatrist (it was about 9pm by then). In the car he kept asking us to take him to the train station (we later asked him why, and he said he wanted to do something 'spiritual and spontaneouis'- Sit in a lift and go up and down), and he started pointing at the No Smoking sign outside the hospital saying "Have you ever seen such a f***** up smoking sign?!".

We eventually spoke to a doctor who after assessing him basically said they thought his reaction was to do with drugs (we know he does occasionally smoke skunk, but to be honest I don't think it's very regular, he has had absolutely no money since he left Uni and just sits around the house all day watching TV and making countless cups of tea/smoking cigarettes). The thing was as soon as the doctor came in, all the random sentences stopped, and he was almost acting normally. The doctor would ask how uni was and he said it was going well (it's not, he's failed the year), and he also told him he smokes cigarettes very little and sleeps well- Obviously all this is not true!

We then saw a psychiatrist, and my brother behaved in the same way, answering the questions fairly normally. They suggested he went to the GP- So that's the stage we are at now. For some stupid reason he's been allowed to go on this trip away (3 days). This morning he was behaving in quite an odd way- They were late for the flight and he was insistent on having a bath and charging his phone, which there was obviuously no time to do!

I just wondered if anyone had a similar experience or had any idea as to what they think could be the issue here? Would really be interested to hear what people think, at the moment my mum is just in denial and burying her head in the sand, whereas I think there is evidently something wrong which needs addressing sooner rather than later.



Former member
Hi Knash

Thanks for sharing & Welcome to the site. It is very interesting to get the perspective of someone seeing this stuff, from the other side, rather than that of someone experiencing it directly. Your brothers behaviour(s) I can identify with.

Everyone reacts differently to drugs. I used to be a big cannabis smoker. Many people are OK smoking it; but some aren't, & a few have very bad reactions; even to modest amounts. It is very hard to know exactly if the drugs have triggered something; & how much is the drugs, & how much is underlying? But one thing is quite certain; that in people that experience mental health issues, drugs are no good, especially cannabis. But regardless of causes, it is best to try & see what can best be done to help.

Do you know if he takes any other substances?, I used to take a lot of LSD, E's, Speed, & other assorted hallucinogens & drugs. These substances can have a very powerful effect on the mind.

Over the years I got better & better at hiding MH (mental health) symptoms, & acting like I was OK. Especially around Doctors & medical professionals. It must be very hard for family members to try to deal with this stuff.

In my own mind, when I have been unwell, I have largely rationalised a lot of stuff. Having a degree of insight into the bizarre behaviour is often very hard to do, because to the person experiencing such things, what they are doing is often making complete sense.

What I have found a help is stopping street drugs, & taking a low dose of a med, although I have been very reluctant to take prescribed drugs/meds.

Are you very close to your Bro? Could you, or anyone else, sit down with them, spend some time, & try to chat as openly as possible about what is going on? Acknowledging what they are experiencing, & trying to get an angle on it all. The Doc is probably right, in that it may well be a drug reaction; but it's very hard to tell with things exactly what is happening; no one really knows; but there are lots of ideas & theories. For some people meds & a psychiatric label helps, & for others it doesn't. Initially I was diagnosed with a drug induced psychosis, but over the years the diagnoses changed.

It must be very scary for you & your family. It could well be that the main problems are the cannabis usage, the over use of stimulants (Caffeine & nicotine), & the lack of sleep. I found that addressing these areas, & having regular sleep, good food, & no street drugs; has benefited me enormously. But I do understand the difficulties in getting someone that isn't well to address these things. (I still smoke far too many cigarettes).

It took 17 years of taking street drugs before I stopped them, & a further 4 years of stopping meds, over using stimulants & not looking after myself, before I addressed certain issues regarding my mental health, & tried better to look after myself. It isn't easy.

I do understand your mum wanting to deny things; this is a normal reaction, & a person experiencing such things, does not often want to regard themselves as ill.

There appears to be a complex/spectrum of factors in MH conditions; & they are often highly complex conditions. I hope that things can work out, & your brother gets better, & gets the help & support that he needs. Unfortunately MH services in this country are not great, but there are understanding & caring people out there.

I don't know what specific advice to give. My experiences of illness in the past was reacted to with sections & forced drugging with meds; which I think can also compound problems. But there doesn't appear to be any easy answers. I do though think that people can & do recover; it is very individual. Some people appear to recover well, & others not so.

[I have a current label/diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia]

Thanks again for sharing.
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Well-known member
Founding Member
Jan 7, 2008
I broke down in my second year at uni i had been taking drugs, it had been going on all the second year but they ignored it, remember one guy saying "He had a breakdown at the end of the first year and the jurys still out as to whether he's ill or making an existential statement"

I went into the bin near the uni at the end of the second year, i doubt my family saw much of the severe side, my sister just said i was very drugged up when she visited

In those days there were large bins with plenty of room

!9?20 is a common age for the onset